With summer nearly upon us, I’m looking forward to getting some sun on our upcoming trip to California. Blog post on that to follow when we get back, but in the meantime here’s the Lo List guide to the last holiday sun we got – at Sani Resort in northern Greece. For anyone looking for a relaxing week with two pre-schoolers (if that’s possible!), I would highly recommend checking it out. Judging from the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor we’re not the only people who have enjoyed it.
- We wanted a week long beach holiday in late September without travelling outside of Europe. Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Croatia are a bit too cool by this time of year so I decided to focus my search on Greece
- Our kids were aged 3 and 1 at the time so we wanted a hassle-free stay somewhere that caters for young children
- A couple of other places I considered were:
- We chose Sani in the end because of the combination of the easy flight and transfer, lovely beach on site, facilities offered in a larger resort, variety of dining options, and lastly because we got a good late season deal (just over EUR2,000 for the 4 of us for a week, half board, excl flights).
- You can fly direct from STN (Ryanair) or LGW (Easyjet or BA). Go on, pay up for a BA flight. The Easyjet flight takes off at ridiculous o’clock and Ryanair….need I say more?
- It’s an easy 40 minute transfer from Thessaloniki (SKG). Phew! We booked our stay directly with the hotel (they matched a slightly better deal that I’d found on the BA website) and we got a complimentary transfer. We didn’t leave the resort all week so there was no need for car hire
- There are 4 hotels in the resort. Sani Beach Club is further down the coast from the main resort so is more of a standalone family hotel; it is linked by a shuttle bus to Porto Sani Village. Sani Beach Hotel is the entry level hotel and the biggest one in resort. Porto Sani Village is the mid-priced one, for me the main drawback of this hotel is that it’s not by the sea. Sani Asterias Suites is their most exclusive offering.
- Getting a smaller room at Sani Asterias Suites vs a larger room at one of the other hotels in the resort is definitely worthwhile. It has the most convenient location, the nicest beach, and due to its size it is much more peaceful and relaxing (for example, at breakfast) than the other hotels. It feels more like you’re staying in an boutique hotel rather than a larger package holiday type affair
- We stayed in a Marina Suite. We had a separate bedroom and the kids slept in the living room, which was spacious enough to accommodate the cot and camp bed. In the evenings while the kids were asleep we could watch TV in our bedroom or sit out on the terrace overlooking the marina and pool. If your budget allows for it, the Beach Suites have a wonderful view, but it was only a minute’s walk to the beach from our room
WHERE TO EAT
- Ammos – good lunch spot next to the beach. Depending where you’re sat, it’s possible to keep an eye on the kids playing in the sand from your table. Food is not that exciting but location and view are great
- Bousoulas beach bar – also a nice place for lunch – located above the beach round the back of the Sani Beach Hotel so a bit trickier to find. Amazing views! Smaller and quieter than Ammos. Ibiza kind of vibe.
- Psaroyannus Ouzerie – my personal favourite in resort. Low key, simple, traditional Greek food on the Marina. Good for lunch or dinner. Big portions!
- Tomata – we had dinner here with the kids and the food was tasty and the ambiance really pleasant. Would be good for a date night without the kids.
WHAT TO DO
Our kids were quite young at the time of our visit so we didn’t explore some of the more adventurous activities and sports on offer. We did manage to keep ourselves occupied with the following:
- Beach – the beach is perfect for toddlers. Very gentle slope and calm sea. Loads of beach toys provided. Husband was very happy with cold beers from the bar.
- Pool – we didn’t realise this until we got there but nearly all the outdoor pools are unheated. So in late September they were practically deserted bbrrrrr. The kids didn’t mind the toddler pool in Asterias Suites but it was too chilly for me so I stuck to sunbathing. There is only one outdoor heated pool at Sani Beach Hotel which was rather popular! The pool at Porto Sani Village is the best of the indoor ones.
- Playground – both kids and parents enjoyed it!
- Bike hire – fun but with two young children and one un-coordinated mum (me!) we didn’t find (m)any suitable cycling trails outside of the paved resort pathways
- Spa – Porto sani village has the nicer spa
- Sunset boat trip – it’s free, but does get booked up – reserve your place when you arrive
- Kids club – our children really enjoyed it. The babies (4m – 4y) and children (aged 4-11) are in adjacent rooms and share an outdoor space. The kids club is free for children aged 4+. There are 3 sessions a day (morning, lunch, afternoon). Book before you arrive/early in your stay as the morning sessions are popular. The staff from the kids club do babysitting in the evenings.
You can’t get away from the fact that Sani is a large resort and has that man-made feel. The Sani Beach Hotel (not the most attractive building) does loom on the horizon, but the resort is beautifully landscaped and maintained. For us, having lots of facilities on hand was something we really appreciated. The service was fantastic. The kids were happy (my daughter still asks me when we’re going back), Husband and I got to spend time both with the children and also with each other. And best of all, I didn’t have to lift a finger all week. With kids this age, that’s the point of a holiday, right?